One hacker, a little wi-fi ... and an election victory can be yours

A new report from the Brennan Center underscores the problems with voting machines.

By Tim Grieve
Published June 28, 2006 6:06PM (EDT)

The Brennan Center for Justice impaneled a group of experts last year to examine what it would take to steal an election using electronic voting machines. The answer: a single technologically savvy operative with timely access to the right computers.

The task force's report reaches three "fundamental" conclusions: Voting machines have "significant security and reliability vulnerabilities, which pose a real danger to the integrity of national, state, and local elections"; the worst of these vulnerabilities "can be substantially remedied if proper countermeasures are implemented at the state and local level"; but few jurisdictions have implemented any of these countermeasures.

Among other things, the task force calls on state and local officials to conduct audits in which they compare voter-verified paper trails with the electronic record and -- here's a no-brainer -- to "ban wireless components in voting machines." Currently, only New York and Minnesota ban wireless components from all of their voting machines, the task force said.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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